Company: Gridco Systems
The solution is conceptually easy. We need a smarter distribution grid. The key is to make the power system operate like an information system. This requires more information, more sensors on the local loop, to know in real-time what’s happening at a very granular level. And it means adding more control over electron flows, using smart switches and nodal storage. Information and control is how resilience and reliability are effected in every kind of system. Fortunately, all of the essential power-centric information and sensor technologies have come of age, emerging from the ICT sector.
The ICT sector is now the central driving force across the entire economy. And while it has created its own demands on our aging power grid, it has simultaneously created the solutions. There is a virtuous circle to all this. The happy long-term outcome? A more prosperous digitally-powered economy.
In a trillion-dollar-class infrastructure like the electric grid, you can assume the major players will dominate the scene: on the traditional electric side, GE [NYSE: GE], Siemens [NYSE: SI], ABB [NYSE: ABB], Emerson [NYSE: EMR], Eaton [NYSE:ETN], and Schneider [FR: SU-FR], and on the ICT side companies like IBM [NYSE: IBM], Microsoft [AMEX:MSN], and Oracle [NASDAQ:ORCL]. But when it comes to innovation, as with every domain, we often find clever ideas and products bubbling up more rapidly from smaller companies like the private (and small only by GE standards) S&C which makes, amongst much else, a smart switch for local distribution to redirect power flow. And this is a field ripe for innovation from venture-backed small players like Power Analytics where we find my old friends and their c(‘routers’ for power), or my new friends atGridSense [NASDAQ:ACFN] with some 200 customers and a mission to add smarts to the millions of existing pole-mounted dumb transformers on the distribution grid.